Gimme some lip: Five top lipstick shades

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Back row, left to right: Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, MAC, Smashbox Front: NYX

I was a rather late arrival to the lipstick game. When I was in high school and college, the natural look was in and — thanks to the hereditary benefit of a naturally pink pout — I rarely wore lip products at all. I never got into lip glosses (too thick and gooey) and lipstick required touch-ups throughout the day, which was something I just couldn’t be bothered with.

As I got older, however, two things happened: First, I discovered that the right lip shade can work wonders, particularly in terms of brightening an aging face. Second, lipstick formulas changed. Today’s lippies don’t feel nearly as heavy and waxy as the old formulas that made my lips feel like they were suffocating beneath a heavy, uncomfortable film. What’s more, the latest formulations are longer-lasting, reducing the frequency of touch-ups.

Today, I have a rather large collection of lipsticks, ranging from nuder-than-nude to fiery reds. Here are a few of my current favorites:

  • Tom Ford Lip Color in Spanish Pink: This is my favorite pink nude. It’s also my most spendy lipstick, purchased at the crazy price of $50 for the tube. It’s a good thing this was a “Sorry, not sorry” selection. It’s creamy, has the perfect amount of sheen and is a lovely beige-pink shade worthy of a classic Hitchcock blonde.
  • Marc Jacobs Le Marc in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: First, let’s talk about the case: It’s sleek, curved, sexy and magnetized. The lipstick inside is sexy too — it’s a deep rosy shade with beige undertones that promises 10 hours of velvety, hydrating wear. Ten hour is stretching it (in my experience, no lipstick holds on for that long), but I love the way it makes my lips look smooth and full with a slight sheen.
  • MAC Red — MAC makes a wide array of gorgeous reds. While Russian Red and Ruby Woo get the lion’s share of raves, I’m partial to the simply named “MAC Red.” It’s a vivid, bright, blue-red with a satin finish that makes my teeth look several shades whiter. Simply named … simply gorgeous.
  • Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Fuchsia — Generally, the glossier the lipstick the shorter the wear. The Smashbox Be Legendary formula is different in that it goes on like a lacquer but turns into a glossy, long-lasting stain. When I think of fuchsia, I think of a punchy, in-your-face reddish pink. This is a kinder, gentler, muted fuchsia — a shade so pretty that strangers stop me to ask what I’m wearing on my lips.
  • NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick — Anyone who knows me knows that I’m partial to matte, liquid lipsticks because they’re so long-wearing and never need a lip liner. My favorite from among the new, very affordable NYX entry into long-wearing matte brigade is Tea & Cookies. Pinky browns are all the rage, but sometimes they’re too brown on me. This shade has just the right combination of pink and brown and the color doesn’t budge, even during a meal.
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